Tutorial

Odds strategy

Odds and Implied Odds

Odds – (ie chances). In poker game this term refers to the chances that one of your outs will appear at the table, as well as to the chances of the bank - pot odds.

Outs – an output of this card will complete your winning combination.

This is where the mathematically minded player has a great advantage over the unskilled poker newbie but there are many tricks which make understanding odds much easier. Poker is about probability in most cases and here we’ll describe those particular principles you should understand when making your decisions.

First of all let’s give a clear definition of the term, so what are these odds?

Odds in poker – is a process of counting the game chances considering those cards in your hand plus those potential cards which may enter the game on turn or the river.

The easiest way to understand the odds calculation is a visual example.

Imagine the following situation:

You have 2 clubs, let’s say Jc and 10c as your pocket cards and the flop gives you another 2 clubs – Kc and 2c, and 7h. So you need another club to complete your flush draw.

What is the probability of another club being dealt in the next 2 cards? We’ll use the current example to show you the easiest way to calculate your winning odds.

It’s as simple as that. First, you need to calculate the possibility of receiving the necessary card on the turn. This will give you a strong background for making a right decision according to your future bet. So, it’s necessary to count the number of cards which may help you and the number of cards still unrevealed. Following our example, in case you are expecting a Flush, you need to consider the following issues:
• There are 5 visible cards: 2 hole cards and 3 cards received in the flop
• The standard deck has 52 cards, so there are 52-5 = 47 unrevealed cards
• From these 47 cards there are only 9 cards that theoretically may improve our situation and complete our Flush draw, so there are 47 – 9 = 38 cards that will not affect the situation.
• Now we need to determine the interrelation between these indexes 38:9, lets’ reduce it to 4:1

This counting helps us define the possibility of receiving the necessary cards on the turn.

So now when we know that the odds to improve the starting hand on the turn are 4:1, it would be safe to say that 4 out of each 5 times when we happen to get in such situation we won’t receive the needed card, while 1 time will bring the necessary card.

The possibility of receiving the necessary cards on the turn is 9\47 and it will be 9\46 in the river correspondingly. In other words your chances to get a needed card on turn is 19,1% and 19,5% to receive it on the river.

Most directly it’s 20% to make a Flush in the turn or the river. But the picture still seems incomplete without some certain information. Read further to learn even more odds secrets and tips.

Probability and Pot Size

Now we need to count the same relation but this time we’ll use the value of the bet volume and the value of the pot size.
• Imagine your opponent makes a bet on the amount of $20 adding it into the pot size of $80. After this the total pot size becomes $100.
• This means that you must put $20 to take an opportunity of winning the pot in the amount of $100.
• The pot odds equals to 100:20, or 5:1

In total:

• The odds for improvement are: 4:1
• The pot odds are 5:1

The numbers speak for themselves, so it means that you have to call as the pot odds are higher than odds to improve the hand and make a flush within the next card.

To put it simple, you’ll lose $20 within 4 times to win $100 on the fifth. As a result, in the long run you will have a net profit of $ 1 * 100-4 * $ 20 = $ 20

Now we should define our following actions in case anyone places a bet. In what cases you are to stay in the pot and what cases require folding.

Now you can easily decide on your following actions by analyzing the pot value by means of comparing the pot odds and chances to improve your hand within the next cards.

Remember! You must call only in those cases when the chances to improve your hand (complete your draw) are higher than the potential percent of your money in the pot.

Implied Odds

We have already looked at Odds where we discussed the actual bet size one could call profitably with regards to the pot size and the number of outs but we didn’t examined how the future betting rounds affect the pot odds.

The future betting rounds add more money to the pot and this can considerably change the odds. If you flopped a flush draw and the pot is $40 you can call a $10 bet, but what if somebody bets $20? Is it still a call? With more betting, the pot will increase in size. So implied odds have given you the right odds to call! Instead of calling 20 USD to win 40 USD you are actually calling 20 USD to win 40 USD + money from betting on the Turn and River. These two later rounds turn an unprofitable call into a possibility.

Game Type

No-limit and Fixed limit games change the starting hands you can counterchange your play subsequently. As the name implies In the no Limit poker players may place any amount of the bet without any restrictions. In poker with Limits, the high and low limits are defined before the game starts.

Due to the greater increased implied odds in No Limit you can actually play more hands than in Fixed Limit due to the pre-flop bets being relatively small in comparison to the final pot size.

In Fixed Limit pre-flop bets constitute a much larger percentage of the final pot (at the end of the hand) which makes the implied odds significantly lower. Pot limit is similar to No-Limit.

No Limit games require you to complete the draw with a strong hand. By risking with more money in no limit bets it’s highly recommended to consider the implied odds. As the betting size increases after the flop in no limit poker game, it is often appear to be rather profitable to call with a decent draw on the flop even in case you might not have the right odds (on the flop) to call.

The implied odds in Fixed Limit are never as high due to the restrictions on the betting limits. No limit also allows you to control the odds which you give to your opponents. So if you suspect that one of your opponents is drawing to a flush, be sure that by betting a large amount you will significantly cut your opponent’s odds down, so in case he continues to call with the wrong odds then in the long run he will be left with nothing while you’ll win the entire pot. Remember that Poker is all like a war: it’s not about winning one hand but it’s all about winning the whole battle.

It is also typical when it comes to a tournament as the strategy changes in a course of it. So when the Blinds and Antes grow up, the implied odds also change making your hand selection vary.